Platt, Dr William James
1893-1993; e.m. 1916

WM missionary, born at Horwich, Lancs on 2 May 1893. On leaving Didsbury College at 23, he was appointed to the Lagos District, which then covered a vast area of Nigeria, Dahomey (now Benin) and Togo. As a fluent French speaker he was stationed in Dahomey. In 1923 he visited the Ivory Coast (now Côte d'Ivoire) to intercede with the French authorities for the small Methodist community there. He was alerted to the mass movement initiated in 1913-15 by the Liberian 'prophet' William Wadé Harris, a movement hitherto unknown outside the Ivory Coast, of which he later wrote an account. He persuaded the WMMS to take responsibility for following it up and in 1924 became Chairman of the new French West Africa District. He was an effective organizer in Africa and a powerful advocate in Britain. In 1930, frustrated by policy differences, he left the Missionary Society and served for over 30 years with the Bible Society, eventually becoming its General Secretary. He died at Windsor on 5 July 1993, aged 100.

  • W.J. Platt, An African Prophet: the Ivory Coast Movement and what came of it (1934)
  • G.M. Haliburton, The Prophet Harris (1971) pp.173-206
  • Methodist Recorder, 29 April 1993, 19 Aug.1993
  • John Pritchard, Methodists and their Missionary Societies 1900-1996 (2014), pp.75-7